Global climate news from December | NIKIN Blog

Climate news from December 2023

The daily flood of news can be overwhelming and it's easy to lose track of the important news in the mass of gossip. This new monthly blog series summarizes the most important news on the following topics Forest and Climate of the previous month to provide a little perspective - so that we don't lose sight of the forest among all the trees.

Good news is prioritized in the selection of news from the press, because as long as humanity is aware of the climate problem and is looking for solutions, there is hope for a happy ending. Of course, important developments that can sometimes be not-so-good are not withheld. A colorful mix of pleasant and thought-provoking. Have fun reading!

Not-so-good: Worst forest fire year in Canada

It was already clear at the end of August that this forest fire season in Canada was hellish. Now the data is available and it shows that up to 2.5 times as much forest area burned down in 2023 as in the previous record years. There are many reasons for these figures, but they can all be attributed to the warming climate. On the one hand, the high temperatures are drying out the soil, which is otherwise fire-resistant thanks to its moisture. Long periods without rain intensify the drying effect of the warm temperatures. On the other hand, the fire season has lengthened and the fires are getting stronger due to the abundance of fuel that dry areas provide. The big problem with such devastating forest fires is the emission ofCO2previously stored in the forest and soil. It also endangers the habitat of various animal species, leads to food shortages and disrupts the food chain. To stop such weather extremes and prevent "tipping points", we need a concerted effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: SRF)

2023 was the worst year for forest fires in Canada since measurements began | NIKIN Blog
Picture: Severe forest fires are becoming more frequent and lasting longer.

Good: Fighting forest fires and illegal logging with the help of satellites

Europe was also hit by devastating forest fires last year. The EU has therefore launched a project to make it easier to fight forest fires. With the help of satellite images, it should be possible to monitor the course of the fire so that, for example, fire engines can be deployed in a more targeted manner and forest corridors can be created to contain the fire. At the same time, illegal logging can also be combated by monitoring forest areas with the aerial images. This method thus contributes to the conservation of European forests, which we at NIKIN are naturally pleased about. (Source: Euronews)

Good: Insect of the year 2024 - bull beetle

Every year at the beginning of December, the insect of the year is chosen. This title is intended to draw the public's attention to ecologically significant and often endangered insects and increase appreciation for the insect. The choice for 2024 was the bull beetle. Bull beetles feed on the excrement of herbivorous animals, reducing greenhouse gases from cow pats, spreading plant seeds and keeping parasites away from pastures. But the choice of insect of the year should also be seen as a warning. Bull beetles suffer from the use of medicines in animal husbandry, which end up in their excrement. When bull beetles ingest these drugs, they die or are less able to reproduce. The election is therefore a sign of a reduction in the use of medication and the increased grazing of livestock. (Source: SRF)

Not-so-good: A disappointing COP outcome document

The 2023 Climate Change Conference (COP 28) took place in Dubai in early December. Politicians from all over the world discussed further measures for climate protection in the coming year. However, the final document that emerged from the discussions lacks a strong commitment to effective climate protection. For example, it does not contain a commitment to a global phase-out of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil, but merely a decision to turn away from them. Mandatory words? Not a word. However, although the final document is very timid, it is a step forward compared to previous climate conferences - two years ago, for example, the phase-out of coal only just made it into the final document. So things are moving in the right direction, but only very slowly and probably too slowly for the 1.5 degree target, if world politics had its way. (Source: Zeit Online)

Good: Rediscovery of the Attenborough long-beaked hedgehog and the Mayr honeyeater

The story of the Attenborough's long-beaked hedgehog is unique: shortly after its discovery and scientific proof, this hedgehog species disappeared again and was thought to have been lost. Living in the Indonesian province of Papua, the Attenborough's long-beaked hedgehog has now been rediscovered. Using a photo trap, a research group caught one of these hedgehogs foraging for food. In addition to other newly discovered species, the group has also rediscovered a bird that was thought to have been lost since 2008: the Mayr honeyeater. It is not surprising that the research group has (re)discovered so many species - New Guinea is considered the most species-rich island in the world.

The Cyclops expedition in New Guinea rediscovered lost animals | NIKIN Blog
Picture: The Attenborough's long-beaked echidna falls into the photo trap. Credits: Expedition Cyclops
That's it for the December news. At NIKIN, we try not to lose hope in the flood of bad news regarding the climate and, together with our community next , are committed to a greener world. We are convinced that together we can change the world so that we can continue to enjoy nature for a long time to come!
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